Barcelona are nine points clear at the top of the La Liga table, and it is no small part down to Uruguayan defender Ronald Araujo. The 23-year-old has been one of their brightest stars this season, and even though he was sent off on Sunday, Araujo left the pitch feeling the love of Camp Nou.
Araujo was dismissed just before the hour mark against Valencia, after a Jules Kounde header put him in a compromising position. With Hugo Duro racing through to face Marc-Andre ter Stegen, the Uruguayan ensured that his compatriot could not get to the ball.
Ronald Araújo is off! 🟥
Barcelona are reduced to ten men as the defender blatantly denies a goalscoring opportunity 👀#LaLigaSantander pic.twitter.com/R7UIf5hPMn
— Viaplay Sports UK (@ViaplaySportsUK) March 5, 2023
As a result, Javier Alberola Rojas sent off Araujo as the last man. However after he was sent off, Araujo was given a full ovation by Camp Nou, as pointed out by Sport.
Ronald Araújo is shown a red card for this challenge 😳 pic.twitter.com/D2bPaeIRG8
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) March 5, 2023
It was interpreted that Araujo was taking one for the team, and once again another instance of his sacrifice for Barcelona.
Y ahora Ronal Araujo a los camerinos con una Roja ?! #BarcaValencia pic.twitter.com/pJ7uZs4DsI
— Ruth Bibas (@ruthbibas) March 5, 2023
With the Blaugrana narrowly securing the win, the true weight of his absence will be felt next weekend. Travelling to the Nuevo San Mames to face Athletic Club, a ground where Barcelona traditionally struggle, the loss of Aruajo will hurt Xavi Hernandez’s side significantly.